The effect of adding terbium to indium tin oxide (ITO) thin films on the electrical, optical and light emission properties was investigated. The films were prepared by radio frequency dual magnetron sputtering, maintaining a high optical transmittance in the ultraviolet and visible spectral regions, and a low electrical resistivity ranging from 5×10-3 ω ...cm to 0.3 ω ...cm . Terbium-related luminescence is achieved after annealing at 470 C in air at atmospheric pressure. Electrical resistivity and optical transmittance were measured after each annealing step to evaluate the compromise between the achieved light emission intensity, electrical and optical properties. Additionally, temperature dependence of Tb-related luminescence quenching was assessed by temperature-dependent photoluminescence measurements, from 83 to 533 K, under non-resonant excitation. Thermal quenching activation energies suggest an effective energy transfer mechanism from the ITO host to the rare-earth (RE) ions. This indirect excitation mechanism was modeled using a spherical potential-well and a tight-binding one-band approximation approaches, describing a short-range charge trapping process and subsequent formation of bound excitons to RE ion clusters.
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